If you spend many months working with a great team, it is easy to assume that it is the leadership or management of the team that is making the team great. That is, however, a textbook example of recency bias. This is similar to looking at a Barcelona football team or a New York Yankees baseball team and attributing most of the greatness of the team to the manager.
Yes, the manager matters. And, yes, the manager can often be the the difference between a championship medal and a trophy-less season. But, if the team succeeds, it is likely that at least 50-60% of its success is due to great hiring. Even the greatest manager of all time can’t lead a bunch of high school players to a world cup win. But, every once a while, you will hear of ordinary managers leading a great group of players to incredible heights.
It works the same with bad strategy. You can follow great strategy with poor execution and still end up in a decent place. But, start with bad strategy… and it won’t really matter how good your execution is.
It is worth remembering that when we decide to say “yes” to the next commitment that squeezes time that we would normally spent either with ourselves or with our people that mean to us.
Starts often matter more than we think or realize.